Monday, October 22, 2012

Pumpkin Fun!

Pumpkin season is a fun time for art projects! You can make sponge print pumpkins, paper scrap pumpkins, even paint some paper bag 3-D pumpkins. Your little ones love to make projects using crayons, markers, etc.

Here's something else to try - a felt play kit!!

You will need a shoebox, some felt pieces, scissors and glue ... and your imagination! Line the inside of the shoe box lid with a rectangle of colored felt. This will be the background for any scenes your child puts together. For a "Five Little Pumpkins" scene, cut some long, skinny pieces and some shorter pieces out of a dark colored felt to form a fence. Then perch your little orange pumpkins all along the fence and take them off one-at-a-time to the tune of:

Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate
The first one said, "Oh my, it's getting late!"
The second one said, "There are witches in the air!"
The third one said "But I don't care!"
The fourth one said, "Let's run, run, run!"
The fifth one said, "Let's have some fun!"
Then .... whoosh went the wind and OUT went the light,
And five little pumpkins rolled out of sight!

Your child will love the flexibility of the fabric and how the felt  pieces cling to the background ... and you can play with it over and over! Keep your kit around long after pumpkin season and fill it with different shapes - you and your child can come up with many uses for this play set! Use it for story telling, language development, patterns, etc.

Have fun!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Books to Love: "The Dot"

The first time I read "The Dot," by Peter Reynolds, it felt magical ... and I was reading it by myself in the bookstore.

The first time I read it aloud in a classroom, the magic was apparent - every child was listening raptly with such intent expressions! I LOVE this book!

Children will identify with the character and become empowered themselves as the story unfolds ... every child has a little bit of the main character, Vashti, inside. Anyone who has ever hesitated to put themselves out there, or who thinks "I can't do that!," should get a copy.

When Vashti thinks she can't paint, she is encouraged by a teacher to start with just a dot ... and to sign it. That starts the ball rolling and Vashti's confidence and self-worth grows and grows. The ending is particularly touching.

Every time I read it, a few children chime in at the ending - they just know what it will say. This is a great book to use for a child who has a hard time getting started, someone who's not sure of themselves or their skills.

Extend the book with an art project ... have your child choose a simple shape or object to explore and provide them with open-ended art supplies - see what happens! Maybe you will have a beautiful gallery of squares or triangles ... make sure your artist signs their work!

For more art extension  ideas, check out the author/artist's website:

Have fun!